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Old 17.01.2015, 11:28
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Retirement choices

I am a Brit that only spent 2 years working in the UK before moving to Germany in the 70s where I worked till 1998. I then moved to Switzerland and have been working here ever since. Now at 56 I hate to already say it but the dilemma of where to retire and the costs involved keeps rearing its ugly head. I know I still have several years to go and things are changing rapidly and I know they will change numerous times before I retire but..... The questions are:

1. If I retire here will I also be eligible (in addition to my Swiss pension) to receive pension from the UK and Germany based on what I paid in to their systems before working here.

If I were to decide to go back to the UK or to Germany to retire can I take my Swiss pension with me. Or is my pension paid out in that country based on the equivalent of what I would receive there had I continued to work there?

3. If I leave Switzerland and I've cashed in my 3 pillar prior to leaving does the amount I have have an impact on how much pension I receive?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 17.01.2015, 11:36
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Re: Retirement choices

Interesting question & situation.
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Old 17.01.2015, 11:46
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Re: Retirement choices

I moved here 27 years ago, worked fulltime and paid into a pension and 3. Saule account every year. And yet retirement here looks frightful. Especially any old-folks home or assisted-living facility starts at 6K a month for no special care, and that's at today's prices. I see retirement and old-age care here as a rapid road to bankruptcy. Not only that, after you run out of cash, your children are obliged to pay for you before the state kicks in. Switzerland is expensive today, imagine it 10 or 20 years from now.

It is like staring into the abyss. You need multiple millions to retire comfortably here and neither I or 90% of the population will have that. Makes me wonder if moving to the UK in retirement would be any better, at least housing there is much cheaper than here, outside of the big cities. Plus there it the NHS, or what will be left of it by then.
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Old 17.01.2015, 11:52
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Re: Retirement choices

Karl, Thank you for that. You are echoing my thoughts exactly. Even though going back to the UK was never an option for me before. The closer retirement get the more I think it might be the safest option. I don't have children so there's no one to help.
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Old 17.01.2015, 11:52
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Re: Retirement choices

I know I can´t afford to retire in Switzerland.....
On your question: I think most European countries have agreements, where you get your pension from one point. Not sure if that is the case in all countries but for example in Germany I know I will get both the german part and the dutch part, so maybe Switzerland is in this as well and you can get your obligatory part then in the country you retire in. I do not think that this works for Säule 2 though (which is good).
As to Säule 3: this is what you paid in yourself and you got a tax benefit on it? That has - to my knowledge - nothing to do with the state pension (but maybe another EF person is more knowledgeable).
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Old 17.01.2015, 12:15
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Re: Retirement choices

I saw a program on tv a few weeks ago about people retiring to Morocco. You might want to investigate other places that are popular retirement areas if you have no family hindrances.
We're in the situation of worrying what will happen to MIL as she has started making comments about retirement homes & we'll be liable to foot the bill if & when that idea takes root or becomes necessary for health reasons.
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Old 17.01.2015, 12:22
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Re: Retirement choices

1. UK pensions depend on national insurance contributions, and you won't have much, if any, from your 2 years of work there. But the UK pension service will tell you if you are eligible for anything. Do a Google search and you'll find an online form to request the info. They'll get back to you within a month or so.

2. Yes, you will be able to get any pension you're entitled to regardless of where you move to (well, in Europe at least). I presume your Swiss pension will be paid in CHFs. If you can keep a bank account open here for the payment, and take occasional lump sums, it would help, rather than have a monthly payment into a UK bank which will cost more in fees and exchange rate commissions etc.

3. Pillar 3 savings may make a difference in some circumstances e.g. possibly in the UK, if you are not eligible for much UK pension you can seek some sort of benefits top-up. However they will want to know what savings you have, so I presume your Pillar 3 savings will count against you. But if you're not seeking any poverty-related supplement, Pillar 3 savings should be irrelevant. I don't know if Swiss state pension is means-tested, and if so whether Pillar 3 counts. I doubt it.

More generally, I'm about your age and am also having the same thoughts and need to make similar decisions. We don't have particularly close family ties to the UK and anyway, buying a decent house in a place we'd like to live in the UK will be expensive. We've not even considered retiring in Switzerland unless we win the lottery.

So we are quite keen to buy somewhere to retire in Germany. The recent drop in the value of the euro was already increasing our interest, and the events of recent days have focused our minds even more.
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Old 17.01.2015, 12:33
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Re: Retirement choices

Income, accommodation, cost of living are all important- but never ever forget how you feel- will you feel comfortable where you go- will you have friends and a support network, will you find it easy to start all over again, making friends, etc. Retirement can be a huge shock for the system in many, many ways- emotionally perhaps more than anything else. People have to re-invent themselves and re-build their lives around new activities. Some find it easier than others. I know many UK, Swiss and French people who retired abroad, and after the intitial excitement, dream of one thing only, going back home (and I know for many expats, that concept is not an easy one- where is home?)- but are stuck as they can't sell- and even if they sell, would be totally unable to now buy anything decent in the UK- having spent the spare cash release by sale of original uk house.

BTW Roegner- just a thought- you may think you are not able to retire in CH- but perhaps you are thinking Zurich- wherease elsewhere further afield could be quite affordable, of course if this is what you wish.

Watch Marygold Hôtel about retirees going to live in India for cheap care- excellent acting and very funny.

Last edited by Odile; 17.01.2015 at 13:10.
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Old 17.01.2015, 12:36
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Re: Retirement choices

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. . . Not only that, after you run out of cash, your children are obliged to pay for you before the state kicks in. . .
Children have to be reasonably well off before they are obliged to support their parents - 'Verwandtenunterstützungspflicht'. A married couple, for instance, who, between them, have a calculated income of less than SFr 180'000 usually will not be considered liable.
(German) www.advocat.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/know-how/eherecht/Die_Verwandtenunterstuetzung_final.pdf
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Old 17.01.2015, 12:40
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Re: Retirement choices

In UK if you belonged to a company pension : 2 years is often the minimum you need to have worked to avoid it being paid out at the time.
I believe at 2 years the state pension does not apply . Best thing to do is ask for a pensions statement at .gov.uk ( beware of many scavenging sites when you look this up on Google who then charge you for things that are free)


There are options about buying additional years but guess the rules are clear about tax residency for these years .


Clearly if the majority of your pension wealth is in CHF : the recent week's forex bomb by SNB has made many countries about 15% cheaper to live in than CH.


My policy has been to hedge my pension across multiple countries and see what happens ....
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Old 17.01.2015, 12:45
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Re: Retirement choices

6 months before you retire you visit the AHV / AVS office in your village and fill out a large form with all your work experience. This is sent to an office in Geneva which contacts the pensions offices in the countries where you worked.

These offices (eg in your Canton, in Newcastle and in Berlin) will contact you with their own forms, and you then claim your 3 pensions. These are paid into the account you of your choice.

Note that Germany looks at your income from the age of 16, and gives credit (When calculating) for time spent attending full time education, so start applying for those UK school attendance certificates now.

If you receive less than 2'400 per month, have little assets, and have lived here for 10 years, you can claim supplementary benefit (Erganzungsleistung or prestations complémentaires)
https://www.ch.ch/en/supplementary-benefits/

You apply for your second pillar pension directly to your last pension fund. I would not cash in any pension; you receive much more value by taking a small pension, but sometimes they refuse a pension and pay back the payments made.
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Old 17.01.2015, 13:03
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Re: Retirement choices

OP, I am the same age as you, and having the same thoughts. I recently did a one day course called "after 50, financial planning for retirement" and it answered many of the questions that you have, as well as gIving tips on were to find further information for ones individual case. It cost me 300CHF and was worth every penny. Would advise you to do the same. Mine was run by the cantonal training centre, and I was able to sign up even though I dont work for the canton.
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Old 17.01.2015, 13:08
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Re: Retirement choices

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Children have to be reasonably well off before they are obliged to support their parents - 'Verwandtenunterstützungspflicht'. A married couple, for instance, who, between them, have a calculated income of less than SFr 180'000 usually will not be considered liable.
(German) www.advocat.ch/fileadmin/user_upload/know-how/eherecht/Die_Verwandtenunterstuetzung_final.pdf
me.anon Is it on income only or does "fortune" come into it? The way we understood it, our savings would be taken. Sorry, can't read German.
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Old 17.01.2015, 13:08
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Re: Retirement choices

browser crashed = posted twice
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Old 17.01.2015, 13:18
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Re: Retirement choices

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me.anon Is it on income only or does "fortune" come into it? The way we understood it, our savings would be taken. Sorry, can't read German.
Your calculated income does take into account your wealth. An example from the table in the document is this:
If you are between 31 and 40 years old, then your wealth, divided by 50, is added to any other income you may have to determine your 'calculated' annual income. So, if you have a million francs, this inflates your income by SFr. 20'000.
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Old 17.01.2015, 13:22
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Re: Retirement choices

There is a strange EU law that when you retire to an EU or EFTA country and you are receiving a Swiss pension then you have to continue to pay to a Swiss Krankenkasse at the local country rate.
When I was looking at retiring in Germany the Swiss Krankenkasse local country German rate was higher for the basic than I pay now in Switzerland.

I assume if you are a UK citizen and retire to UK then maybe this does not apply; I could not find the information on this.

If you do not pay and they catch you then they send you a bill for the past payments you should have made and you do not get any refund for any other sickness insurance you paid.

Look at number 14 here.
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Old 17.01.2015, 13:33
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Re: Retirement choices

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There is a strange EU law that when you retire to an EU or EFTA country and you are receiving a Swiss pension then you have to continue to pay to a Swiss Krankenkasse at the local country rate.
That's what it seems to say but can it be correct? If you've left the country to permanently reside somewhere else, why would you need to pay health insurance in Switzerland? (Or am I showing my age by misunderstanding?)

Last edited by Pachyderm; 17.01.2015 at 13:44.
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Old 17.01.2015, 14:18
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Re: Retirement choices

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That's what it seems to say but can it be correct? If you've left the country to permanently reside somewhere else, why would you need to pay health insurance in Switzerland? (Or am I showing my age by misunderstanding?)
Because it is an EU law

Just because it is a stupid and illogical sounding law does not make it a non-law, no different from any other stupid and illogical sounding laws
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Old 17.01.2015, 14:25
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Re: Retirement choices

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That's what it seems to say but can it be correct? If you've left the country to permanently reside somewhere else, why would you need to pay health insurance in Switzerland? (Or am I showing my age by misunderstanding?)
If you are a Swiss pensioner in the EU or EFTA and do not pay your Swiss Krankenkasse then this is the legal body who will come after you, look here, even in English.

The Swiss Federation has delegated the control of the adherence to the compulsory insurance regulations for pensioners domiciled in an EU-/EFTA state to the Gemeinsame Einrichtung KVG.
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Old 17.01.2015, 14:39
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Re: Retirement choices

That course sounds rather expensive. We were advised to have an analysis done by these peeps. https://www.vermoegenszentrum.ch/ind...insurance.html
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